Ben McClellan’s 33-yard field goal in the closing seconds was the difference as the Grizzlies beat Cambridge 27-24 and remained unbeaten in Region 7AAAAA (A).
“Creekview is one heck of a football team,” Cambridge coach Craig Bennett said. “They’re undefeated in subregion play for a reason.”
Creekview (5-2, 3-0) remained undefeated despite a last-minute drive by the Bears (2-5, 1-2) that concluded with a 31-yard field goal by Clayton Hammer to tie the game at 24-24 with about 2 minutes left.
“I thought (Cambridge wasn’t) lining up exactly like they wanted to,” Creekview coach Terry Crowder said. “I knew we had a chance to pop one. It was the safe thing to do and, sure enough, Isaiah (Rodgers) popped it.”
After an intentional grounding penalty pushed the Grizzlies back to their own 30-yard line, Rodgers raced up the middle for 35 yards.
Rodgers finished the night with 20 carries for 113 yards.
“(Rodgers) is good. I’m not going to take anything away from them,” Bennett said. “They did what they wanted to do and our kids missed a play there. That was the dagger.”
The true dagger would come two plays later after Wilkie converted a third-and-9 with an 18-yard pass to Connor Dulmage, bringing Creekview within McClellan’s range.
Dulmage also serves as the holder and provided McClellan with some guidance.
“It was tough. It’s hard to stay focused when there’s so much pressure and so much on the line,” said McClellan, who watched Dulmage point at his eyes then point down before the snap. “He keeps me reminded that I need to keep my head down.
“That’s been an issue all season. He’s the one that helped me with that.”
The field goal was McClellan’s second of the fourth quarter. A center midfielder for the Creekview soccer team, his 47-yard attempt early in the third quarter hit the upright, but that didn’t dissuade Crowder.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in (McClellan),” Crowder said. “I just knew he was going to nail it and he did.”
The coach also had confidence in Wilkie, who took advantage of mistakes in the first half to build a lead. Wilkie used the Bears’ pressure to run a wide receiver screen to Dawson Ewers for a 39-yard touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter.
Creekview took the lead seconds later after recovering a fumble on Cambridge’s next possession. Wilkie scrambled away from pressure as he did all night, then floated a pass to an open Chandler Wold for a 23-yard score and a 14-7 lead. He closed the frame out with a 23-yard touchdown to Dulmage and a 21-14 halftime lead.
“He’s a heck of a sophomore quarterback,” Crowder said of Wilkie. “I’ve never seen one like him with his composure. He’s something special.”